One of the most successful hip-hop acts to emerge from Great Britain, Stereo MC’s formed in London in 1985, when rapper Rob B. (born Rob Birch) and DJ/producer the Head (Nick Hallam) formed the Gee Street label as a means of promoting their music. Gee Street soon signed a distribution deal with the New York-based 4th & Broadway label, and a series of singles followed before Stereo MC’s’ debut album, 33-45-78, surfaced in 1989.
After the departure of founding member Cesare, the group — now consisting of Rob B., the Head, drummer Owen If (born Owen Rossiter), and vocalist Cath Coffey — issued the 1990 single “Elevate My Mind,” which became the first British rap single ever to reach the U.S. pop charts. Following the release of the album Supernatural, Stereo MC’s toured with the Happy Mondays and EMF before returning to the studio to record their 1992 breakthrough Connected, a sample-free album recorded completely with live instruments which spawned major hits like “Step It Up,” “Creation,” “Ground Level,” and the title track. Throughout several years of production and remix work, the group’s long-awaited (and oft-delayed) follow-up remained unreleased, though in 1997, Coffey did at least issue her debut solo single, “Wild World.” For their 2000 mix album DJ Kicks, Stereo MC’s recorded three new tracks, “Rhino, Pts. 1-3,” and finally in 2001 issued a new album, Deep Down & Dirty, after a long nine-year hiatus.